What Is Bone Marrow Stimulation?

If your ankle cartilage is damaged, you can get it repaired using a procedure called bone marrow stimulation. Also known as microfracture surgery, it is an arthroscopic procedure (i.e., a minimally invasive surgery). The cartilage is a connective tissue that provides cushioning and enables smooth and painless movement. A damaged cartilage can cause a lot of pain while walking or running.

The surgery is usually performed on young and active adults who have injured their cartilage. It can be performed on the knee, too. It helps in relieving pain and reduces swelling in the joint. Older adults having a damaged cartilage are not good candidates for this procedure.

What Does it involve?

Bone marrow stimulation involves making tiny incisions that allow for inserting probes and surgical instruments. The incisions made around the affected part enable precise movements while also reducing the risk of infection. You will be given general anesthesia. The, two incisions will be made on your ankle.

One incision is for inserting a probe connected to a camera that is used to obtain a clear view of ankle. The view is generally displayed on a monitor. Through the second incision, an awl (which is a surgical tool) is inserted into the affected part. The awl is used to make small holes, which are called microfractures, in the underlying bone. These microfractures allow blood and bone marrow to develop, resulting in the formation of a super clot. This has growth factors which will help to produce healthy cartilage.

The entire procedures usually take less than an hour. The number of holes to be made depends on the extent of the injury. You may also require bone marrow aspiration.

After the surgery, you can go back home. To help deal with resultant pain, some medication may be prescribed. For around two weeks, the ankle joint will require splints for protection. Full recovery may take up to six months and you may need physical therapy to restore complete movement and strength.

Interested in learning more about bone marrow stimulation? Contact Dr. Christopher E. Hubbard

If you’re suffering from foot or ankle pain, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Relief can be yours with help from us. Call us today at 212-844-6940 to schedule an appointment. We hope to hear from you soon.